The Wooden Stool

From the time my mother was 8 years old, my Bubbie (the Yiddish term for grandmother) Celia walked with crutches.  It was very difficult for her to leave her home, which meant that our weekly visits were almost always at her house.  There were many things in her home that I remember all too well.

The beautiful candy dish that was always full of chocolate filled peppermints, Eskimo drinks in her fridge, hard salt water taffy in her “back bedroom” and my fondest memory….her little wooden stool.

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I can still see my Bubbie Celia sitting on her chair in her parlour with one foot resting on a little wooden stool that always had a loose leg, which often fell out as I would bring it to her upon her request.  After my Zaida (grandfather) passed away, Saturday nights became our night.  My parents would drop me off at my Bubbie’s  house with a smile on my face and a McDonald’s dinner for two.  Her order: a McChicken with ketchup, French fries and a hot chocolate…a meal I will never forget.  We would watch our favourite shows, Star Search, 227, The Golden Girls and laugh every time we heard the words, “picture it, Sicily…”.  As I would walk across the room,  I would study the scratches and imperfections of that wooden stool as my Bubbie would lift her swollen foot and rest it without a single complaint.
My Bubbie passed away in 1992.

 I was 12 years old.  Old enough to treasure our memories…too young to think about asking for something of sentimental value.

As time went on I discovered that the little wooden stool meant as much to my older brother as it did for me and he was wise enough to hold on to it.

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Over the years I had often thought about the wooden stool and secretly hoped that one day it would be mine.  My older brother and I have always had a close, loving relationship and I did not want the wooden stool to come between us.

This past weekend I was visiting my brother.   It was my niece, Celia’s Bat Mitzvah and our entire family was thrilled to be able to celebrate this occasion together. It was four days packed with celebrations, happiness and so much love, as we also enjoyed my brother’s birthday and Mother’s Day!
As our whirlwind weekend came to a close, our family began to say our goodbyes, the most difficult part of all.  And as I went to hug my brother goodbye, his hands were behind his back.

He looked at me with so much love  in his eyes as he presented me with my Bubbie’s little wooden stool and asked me if I still wanted it.

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My eyes, full of tears examined it and memories came flooding back.  To anyone else, this may be a just wooden stool with a loose leg and many imperfections.  But in my eyes, this is MY Bubbie, MY memories and MY perfect little wooden stool….forever!

-Stephanie Rappoport-Galperin

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